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Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by WILLIAM H, Dec 7, 2003.
Just saw it tonight, Awesome, beautiful, brutal, poignant. Oscar material
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I'd like to see it, but I find the whole premise given in the ads kind of insulting. Almost like the Japanese making a movie about some Japanese Samurai who came the the states during the civil war and helped to win it.
I guess samurai movies that really go in deep about authentic Bushido and what not should not include an american as the hero. Just my 0.02.
I cant reaaly tell you why you are wrong without spoiling the movie. It really shows how beautiful & pure the Samurai philosophy was while at the same time showing the extreme ferocity & skill of the Samurai & their allegiance to the Emperor & honor above all else.
Historically the Samurai used firearms for a short period but they eventually abandoned firearms because any moron can operate a firearm while it takes decades of skill to master a Katana or hand to hand combat, which they saw as much more honorable.
I dont know enough about thier history to know if the American Hero part was accurate. He wasnt so much a hero as a narrator/student/guide though
I plan on seeing this, but I'm not sure I agree with this statement There's an interesting review in the Washington Post from one of my favorite movie critics. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37137-2003Dec4.html
A couple interesting quotes:
"...the samurai, after all, were but a small part of Japan; they represented, by the 19th century, obstructivist, regressive values. They really can't, or shouldn't, be sentimentalized."
"To Zwick, the way of the samurai is akin to the way of purity: It stands for nobility, service, self-sacrifice, denial of ego, tradition. It did, of course, but only for a small member of the elite who enjoyed its fruits; for the general population, it was simply feudalism, in which a small band of hereditary aristocrats controlled society by force and looted its profits to sustain themselves in castles and enjoy blood sports."
"In the West, we call that "the Dark Ages" and we invented something to end it, called a "government"; Zwick calls it paradise and has constructed a movie that asks us to endorse it. It's the first, and I hope last, pro-warlord movie!"
He goes on to completely bash it and claim that Zwick and Cruise have completely ripped off and twisted Akira Karusara's films, generally considered to be masterpieces (specifically The Seven Samurai..) But whatever, I'm always in for 2-3 hours of not thinking about life, so I'll catch hit this week... Still holding out for LOTR though
This is just wrong. The Samurai were extremely noble , ferocious, skillful warriors. There politics were just not in tune with 19C Europe but their pursuit of lofty idealized goals of nobility, purity, sacrifice, beauty, honor, skill, discipline are all very worthy values to follow even in the 21st C
I think all the govts in the world could use a large dose of honor & nobility
When watching the movie I too was questioning its reality. Although I am sure thats not what really happened it was an entertaining movie.
For whatever inaccuracies it may have (I told think it was meant to be a factual retelling of history), I thought the movie was very well done. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Last Samurai is quite entertaining, I highly rec. it...
If you're looking for a more "hardcore" Samurai movie, it'd be worth your time to check out Yojimbo or Seven Samurai
Going to have to check out 7 Samurai & dust off my copy of THE ART OF WAR. Good book for law school too
While I'm not criticizing the movie (haven't seen it), and while I'd like to see it, I should correct this.
Even in their prime, samurai weren't as honor-bound as many think. They lived by the code of bushido, which essentially tied you and all of your loyalty to your domo. Other than that loyalty and honor, there wasn't much. They often terrorized the peasants when returning home from wars - stealing their food, raping women, etc etc. Some were very noble and ideal, but the majority were brigands with swords.
By the 19thc, this was the case for probably 99% of the samurai class, except now they didn't even know how to fight properly with their swords. It was an old and bloated class that was in need of retirement.
If you like this kind of stuff, you should take a Japanese history class as at JC near you. It's cheap, and you can get a really good idea of what really went on with the samurai.
I grew up in an area that had quite a few Japanese - in the early 70's, my Pop and I would get up early to watch shows in Japanese on an independent TV station. The most fascinating of them was a Samurai Episodic Drama show that was simply the best thing on TV, day or night, though we couldn't understand a word. Well-filmed/acted & never cheapened.
See if "Ideals of the Samurai" is in your local library.
i saw the movie last night, myself and everyone i was with loved it. Great flick, a tad long, but very enjoyable.
Possible spoilers, don't read if you haven't seen!
From what I understand from a friend who is a student of Japanese history and culture, the film is somewhat accurate actually. This man really did exist.
I enjoyed the even-handed representation of the Samuari as a noble, but dated, people who's core values I would have liked to have seen passed on.
They were crushed by the new wave, and instead of coming to terms and growing, they refused to change and offer what they could. The new order also refused to accomodate and appricate what they had to offer, and saw them only as savages.
It's a tradgedy, and an honest and good one at that.
I am a fan of the old Akira Kurosawa films (we named our son Akira even) and have watched all the usual NHK samurai dramas (historical or not) and have read a bit of Japanese history in my day but I doubt the point of this film is its historical correctness - like any hollywood movie, the point is just entertainment and they need some background behind the star and it might as well be a samurai thing I guess.
My wife (Japanese) and I have planned to see this movie Friday. I'll let you know her reaction.
The term Samurai is like saying Gun-man in Western movies. There were 4 classes of people back then. Japan was divided by several regions, and each regions had its own king. Bushi who served its king by working in his castles & its administered offices like collecting tax, storing foods, buying some commodities from other allied regions, etc, and they were allowed to carry a sword, the proof of Bushi. Other 3 classes were Farmers, Merchants (generally just selling commodities), and Makers (like sword maker, cloth maker, house builder, etc.) So in general, when people said Samurai, it meant Bushi class. However some people from other 3 classes could be promoted by a king to be Bushi, although very rare case. Some young farmer would run away from their home, and stray the region to become Bushi. (if you see "Seven Samurai", the character Kikuchiyo played by Mifune, depicts this kind of character in the film) Thus anyone can be dressed & act like Samurai as long as they have a sword w/ the correct hair style & clothing. However, they have no training (which starts at young age) as Bushi, so they would be obvious as wannabe from the view of real Bushi.
The culture of Bushi changed quite bit as time passed by. Originally known for its royalty & honor-bound, they had to change as they life couldn't be made as Bushi. There's a saying "Bushi must looked full w/ toothpick in his mouth even though he hasn't eaten". Bushi were just like office workers in the time of peace, as they could be powerful Samurai only there's a war. It is ironic a long peaceful time in Japan changed how Bushi lived.
Yoshi , do the Samurai still exist in Japan or were they totally wiped out in the 19th C ? Do you live in Japan ?
Did the Yakuza spring from the Ninja Assasins ? or elsewhere ?
NO. You cannot carry around sword w/ that hair style!!! Hoever, we use a word Samurai as an adjective for a man who does his things without complaining, has own will & policy in his action, and never changes that in any situation. It is used to pay respect, like sort of saying "you are the man!".
Ninja & Yakuza are totally different. Although it is possible some Ninja may changed its job after losing their king (meaning their king lost in a war) There were people like Yakuza back then. Have you seen the movie "Yakuza" w/ Robert Mitchum? Yakuza also changed as time passed by.
wow.... fchat IS great way to learn new things!!!!!!
For a story on probably Japan's greatest samurai, go read the book Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa. Musashi is sort of a fictionalized biography of Musashi Miyamoto, arguably Japan's greatest samurai and writer of the strategy tome, The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin no Shou or something like that).
There were also movie, drama and even comic book adaptations (www.viz.com sells the English-translated and award-winning comic book/manga Musashi by the artist Takehiko Inoue).
The most famous story in the Musashi 'legend' is of course the tale where he purposely arrived late to a duel against another samurai named Kojirou Sasaki in order to 'bore' Sasaki so that he'll be either tired from waiting or won't expect Miayomoto to show up. Musashi defeated him just by whacking Sasaki with the oar of the boat in which he came to the bout with.
The samurai class was abolished just before the turn of the 20th century, but many people in Japan still claim that they belong to samurai blood (most are liars though). The class was abolished just after the Sengoku period just like the earlier post stated.
Ninja are not related to yakuzas. Yakuzas are like the Japanese versions of the Mafia or your local version of organized crime syndicates. They do follow certain samurai style code of ethics though. Ninjas are like spies and secret agents. They sometimes come from the rank of samurais or just the regular soldiers.
As for the movie, I hear that it's basically a Tom Cruise vehicle, so expect the movie to make him look good. The Japanese actors and actresses are still talented though.
I loved the movie. One of the best I've ever seen. Sugoku omoshirokatta. Saiko.
The character of Katsumoto is almost certainly based on a real samurai named Saigo Takamori. His name would be worth googling for, if any of you are curious.
I agree, saw this last night and definitely a good movie.
Saw the movie last weekend w/ my family. Even the youngest one (5 years old) liked it. (yes, I know it is R-rated, but the people who saw already said the violence was due to chop & dicing, harakiri, kubiuchi, etc) Movie was beautiful, although it was not shot in Japan.
It is very good. I cannot believe most scenes are in the set! (use of CG helped) The way they shot sword fighting scene (called Tate) was so closely shot to fighters, contrasting to traditional Japanese way is shoot it from far to show the whole body movement, like dance, thus close shots gave thrusting & vigorous touch.
I agree with some in the previous post that the movie is tad long, and maybe some conversation is hard to understand due to an accent. However it is worth $8.00 per person for 2 hours of entertainment.
If you liked "Gladiators", "Dance With the Wolves", you'll like this movie.
It is hard to write this because I don't want to give away any story lines for people who hasn't seen it!!!
Two thumbs up - My wife & I loved it.
Great flick! A little long but worth it. The fighting scenes were just awesome.